Review | Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin

Blood & Honey (Serpent & Dove #2) by Shelby Mahurin

Rating: 3 out of 5.

What you are now is not what you’ve always been, nor is it what you always will be. You are a snake. Shed your skin if it no longer serves you. Transform into something different. Something better.

Picture of the book Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin with fanart.

Blood & Honey serves as a filler book: great characters but an empty plot

Blood & Honey knows how to make my book heart beat faster with its beautiful cover. After more than a year of waiting, I can finally dive into the dangerous world of Lou and Reid again. It was a pleasure to read about the familiar characters. However, the storyline was missing and our heroic gang are at the end of the story, back where they started. This book was definitely a filler book rather than a worthy sequel.

Cover Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin.

Synopsis (spoilers for the first book in the series)

After narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Dames Blanches, Lou, Reid, Coco, and Ansel are on the run from coven, kingdom, and church—fugitives with nowhere to hide.

To elude the scores of witches and throngs of chasseurs at their heels, Lou and Reid need allies. Strong ones. But protection comes at a price, and the group is forced to embark on separate quests to build their forces. As Lou and Reid try to close the widening rift between them, the dastardly Morgane baits them in a lethal game of cat and mouse that threatens to destroy something worth more than any coven.


Review

The cover of Blood & Honey is beautiful. I already liked the cover of the first book – Serpent & Dove -, but this one is even more beautiful. I like the red color and also think the title is very nice and appropriate.

The story of Lou and Reid continues in Blood & Honey exactly where Serpent & Dove left off. The story is told by both Louise and Reid. I really like that we get to see the thoughts of both. I do recommend that you reread the first book so that you remember all the details. Lou’s group tries to find allies in this book, but the search is not as easy as expected.

I have some mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand it was great fun to dive into this world again and follow the super cute characters, but on the other hand this book felt a bit empty. I had heard that Serpent & Dove was going to be a duology, but it now appears that the author is turning it into a trilogy. I have no problem with this (the more books about characters I like, the better) but you do notice that after the success of book one, Mahurin decided to make it a trilogy anyway.

What I mean by this is that nothing really happens in Blood & Honey. The characters are just as far from their goal at the end of the book as they were at the beginning. This isn’t to say their search for allies isn’t entertaining, but this book doesn’t really add to the original plot. If you love these characters and are happy to just follow them, you are probably going to love this book. If you really expect a deep storyline, Blood & Honey might disappoint you a bit.

The first half of the book is also a bit slow. The last 50% of the book was much easier to read and I liked it more than the beginning. The first few chapters are sometimes a bit unclear because not much is happening. In the second half of Blood & Honey a lot of exciting things happen and you have to pay close attention to the book.

The characters, on the other hand, were excellent. I already loved Coco, Ansel and Beau in the first book and I am therefore happy that they were all there again in this book. Lou and Reid’s dynamics were not my favorite in Blood & Honey. They really grew closer in Serpent & Dove and I would have liked to see that even more in book two. In this book, both Lou and Reid are struggling with their lives as witches. It was nice to see how they each dealt with that. Many new characters were also introduced and I thought they were all great.

The world structure was also very good in this book. Mahurin is a good writer and knows how to create a beautiful, exciting and detailed world. The many battle scenes were also very well worked out and I could picture them. At times it also seemed that I was watching a movie.

I feel that there is going to be a big fight in book three and I am really looking forward to it. I found the end of Blood & Honey very exciting. I did not see this plot twist at all and was therefore surprised. I am curious about the last part in the Serpent & Dove series.

Would I recommend it?

If you liked the first book, I do recommend reading this book (if only for the characters). I think the last book is going to be very good and you must have read this book before you can start with the third.

goodreads // blackwell’s


Details

Trigger warnings
Animal sacrifice, blood magic, body horror, death (on-page), decapitation, drowning, drugging, grief, kidnapping, loss of a loved one, manipulation, murder, self-harm, sexism, torture (mentioned), violence

Representation
Black side character, bisexual side character, gay side character
Genre
Fantasy (young adult)
Pages
544
Publication
September 1st, 2020
About the author
Shelby Mahurin grew up on a small farm in rural Indiana, where sticks became wands and cows became dragons. Her rampant imagination didn’t fade with age, so she continues to play make-believe every day—with words now instead of cows. She still lives near that childhood farm with her very tall husband and semiferal children. Serpent & Dove is her debut novel and is followed by Blood & Honey

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